UQ COVID-19

Vaccine Candidate
Timeline

Professor Paul Young wearing a lab coat and safety glasses in a research lab

1975 – Professor Paul Young completes a Bachelor of Science (Hons) at UQ

1975 – Professor Paul Young completes a Bachelor of Science (Hons) at UQ

1976 Ebola first identified - Cases 28616, Deaths 11310, Fatality Rate 39.5%

1976 - Ebola first identified

1976 - Ebola first identified

1976 Ebola first identified - Cases 28,616, Deaths 11,310, Fatality Rate 39.5%

1976 - Ebola first identified

2000 Professor Trent Munro completes a PhD in Protein Biochemistry at UQ.

2003 SARS –  Severe acute respiratory syndrome first identified. Cases 8437, deaths 813, Fatality rate 10%

2003 – Severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) first identified

2003 – Severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) first identified


A University of Queensland research team continues to meet key milestones to fast-track research to develop a vaccine for the coronavirus, COVID-19. The timeline below shows key milestones of historical virus outbreaks, the evolution of the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as details of the formation of the UQ team that developed the molecular clamp and the UQ COVID-19 vaccine candidate.


Milestones

1975 - UQ Milestone

Professor Paul Young completes a Bachelor of Science (Hons) at UQ.

After graduating from UQ, Professor Young goes on to earn a PhD from the University of London in 1986. He returned to UQ in 1991 to teach and research in the Department of Microbiology and, then, the School of Chemistry and Molecular Biosciences.

1975 – Professor Paul Young completes a Bachelor of Science (Hons) at UQ

1976 - Outbreak

Ebola first identified.

The Ebola virus was first discovered near the Ebola River in what is now the Democratic Republic of Congo. Since then, the virus has been infecting people from time to time, leading to outbreaks in several African countries.

Cases: 34,453
Deaths: 15,158
Fatality rate: 43.9%

Find out more about Ebola here.

1976 - Ebola first identified

2000 - UQ Milestone

Professor Trent Munro completes a PhD in Protein Biochemistry at UQ.

After completing his PhD at UQ, Professor Munro undertook further postdoctoral studies at Harvard Medical School and The University of Cambridge.

2000 Professor Trent Munro completes a PhD in Protein Biochemistry at UQ.

2000 Professor Trent Munro completes a PhD in Protein Biochemistry at UQ.

2003 - Outbreak

Severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) first identified.

SARS-CoV is thought to be an animal virus from an as-yet-uncertain animal reservoir, perhaps bats, that spread to other animals (civet cats) and first infected humans in the Guangdong province of southern China in 2002.

Cases: 8,437
Deaths: 813
Fatality rate: 10%

Find out more about SARS here.

2003 – Severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) first identified

2006 - UQ Milestone

Professor Munro returns to UQ, from Cambridge

Professor Munro commenced a research program in the development of biologics (mammalian cell culture derived therapeutic proteins) at the National Biologics Facility, located at the Australian Institute for Bioengineering and Nanotechnology (AIBN), which had recently been established at UQ.
Image: Professor Munro

2007 - UQ Milestone

Associate Professor Keith Chappell completes his PhD at UQ.

Associate Professor Chappell’s doctoral studies focus on the structure and function of flavivirus NS3 protease. He is supervised by Professor Paul Young. Associate Professor Chappell leaves Australia to undertake post-doctoral research in Madrid, Spain.

2011 - UQ Milestone

Associate Professor Keith Chappell returns to UQ to work with Professor Paul Young and Dr Dan Watterson.

Having worked alongside the celebrated virologist Jose Melero in Spain, Associate Professor Chappell returned to his alma mater to work alongside Professor Young and Dr Watterson at UQ’s School of Chemistry and Molecular Biosciences.

Professor Trent Munro with lab equipment
2012 - Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS). Cases 2494, Deaths 853, Fatality Rate 34.4%

2012 - Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS) first identified

2012 - Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS) first identified

2012 - Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS). Cases 2494, Deaths 853, Fatality Rate 34.4%
Dr Watterson, Professor Young, Associate Professor Chappell wearing a lab coat and safety glasses in a research lab

Image: Dr Watterson, Professor Young, Associate Professor Chappell

Image: Dr Watterson, Professor Young, Associate Professor Chappell

2011 - WHO announcement

WHO states the need for greater pandemic preparation.

The International Health Regulations Review Committee declared in 2011 that: "The world is ill-prepared to respond to a severe influenza pandemic or to any similarly global, sustained and threatening public-health emergency.”

Read more here.

2012 - Outbreak

Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS) first identified.

MERS is a viral respiratory disease caused by a novel coronavirus that was first identified in Saudi Arabia in 2012.

Cases: 2,494
Deaths: 858
Fatality Rate: 34.4%

Learn more about MERS here.

2012 - Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS) first identified

2012 - UQ Milestone

Dr Dan Watterson completes his PhD at UQ.

Dr Watterson’s doctoral studies focussed on the dual role of dengue virus E domain III in receptor binding and membrane fusion. He is supervised by Professor Young.

Image: Dr Watterson, Professor Young, Associate Professor Chappell

2012 - UQ Milestone

Research begins on a unique platform technology that is key to stabilising viral vaccines.

Associate Professor Chappell, Dr Watterson and Professor Young then team up to undertake research that aims to provide stability to the viral proteins that are the primary target of immune defence. This work will eventually lead to the “Molecular Clamp”

2012-2017 - UQ Milestone

Proof-of-principle research into the Molecular Clamp platform.

Over six years, Associate Professor Chappell, Dr Watterson and Professor Young (along with a steady stream of students) gradually accrue data to assess the utility of the Molecular Clamp platform for a range of viruses – including respiratory syncytial virus (RSV), influenza, Ebola, Nipah virus and MERS coronavirus.

2014-2016 - Outbreak

Ebola outbreak in Sub-Saharan Africa.

An Ebola epidemic spreads through high-density urban areas in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone resulting in the largest Ebola outbreak ever recorded.

Cases: 28,616
Deaths: 11,310
Fatality rate: 39.5%

Read more here.

2014 – 2016 Ebola outbreak

January 2017 - UQ Milestone

CEPI, a global foundation dedicated to innovative vaccine research is formed.

The Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI) is a global foundation that accepts donations from public, private, philanthropic, and civil society organisations to finance innovative research projects to develop vaccines against emerging infectious diseases.

The Foundation received significant financial support from The Wellcome Trust and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

UQ’s Professor Young attended the CEPI meeting in Paris in January 2017 describing it as a “transformative experience”

“I had never felt as much positive energy as I felt at that meeting, full of leading academic researchers, innovative NGOs and small biotechs alongside large pharma, all committed to finally delivering on a global preparedness strategy to deal with emerging pathogen threats,” says Professor Young.

March 2018 - UQ Milestone

UQ’s Molecular Clamp technology is patented.

Image: UQ’s Molecular Clamp technology

After seven years of development, Uniquest (UQ’s commercialisation company) filed an international patent application for the Molecular Clamp platform.

The patent was published in October 2018, under the title: “Chimeric molecules and uses thereof”. The patent lists Associate Professor Chappell, Dr Watterson and Professor Young as the co-inventors of the Molecular Clamp.

Read more here.

December 2018 - UQ Milestone

A UQ-led consortium is selected by CEPI as one of three teams globally to create rapid-response vaccines.

CEPI provides UQ-led consortium (including the CSIRO, ANU, the Doherty Institute and University of Hong Kong) with AUD$14.6m in funding to develop the rapid response vaccine pipeline, using the patented Molecular Clamp platform technology.

The funding is for a three year-project (2019-2021), with Professor Young and Associate Professor Chappell appointed as co-leads.

CEPI set the UQ-led team the challenge of developing and testing new vaccines in just 16 weeks – from pathogen discovery to the delivery of a sufficient quantity of vaccine to enter a Phase 1 clinical trial.

To prove the Molecular Clamp technology, the UQ team were asked by CEPI to generate three separate vaccines; two for known viruses and one for an emerging pathogen. The team chose influenza and respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) for the first two targets and MERS (which is a coronavirus) for the emerging pathogen. 

As part of the three-year CEPI grant, the final stage was meant to be a “stress test” in 2021, where the UQ-led team would be challenged to rapidly develop a vaccine in response to an unknown virus, called “Disease X”.

However, this “stress test” would quickly evolve to become a real-life challenge to rapidly develop a vaccine that could potentially protect humanity from COVID-19 – and the impacts of the worst pandemic in a century.

Read more here.

August 2019 - UQ Milestone

Professor Trent Munro joins the UQ vaccine team.

August 2019 – Professor Trent Munro joins the team

Professor Munro returned to UQ to take up the post of CEPI Project Director, after six years working with Amgen, a world leading biotechnology company, based in California.

At Amgen, Professor Munro led a global team that was taking molecules from R&D into clinical development and commercialisation.

2014 – 2016  Ebola outbreak. Cases 28616, Deaths 11310, Fatality Rate 39.5%

2014 – 2016 Ebola outbreak

2014 – 2016 Ebola outbreak

Image: Professor Trent Munro in lab

August 2019 – Professor Trent Munro joins the team

August 2019 – Professor Trent Munro joins the team

Professor Trent Munro in lab

COVID-19

2020 and beyond

COVID-19 research team, Dr Daniel Watterson, Mrs Christina Henderson, Professor Paul Young, Associate Professor Keith Chappell, Professor Trent Munro.

31 December 2019 - Outbreak

The first reports emerge of a mysterious pneumonia in Wuhan, China.

Wuhan Municipal Health Commission, China, reported a cluster of cases of pneumonia in Wuhan, Hubei Province. A novel coronavirus was eventually identified.

5 January 2020 - Outbreak

WHO publishes its first ‘Disease Outbreak News’ on the new virus.

The World Health Organisation (WHO) confirmed there were multiple cases of pneumonia, from an unknown cause, in Wuhan, China.

It reported that as of 3 January 2020, there were 44 known cases, with 11 patients being severely ill and 33 patients in a stable condition.

10 January 2020 - WHO Advice

WHO issues technical guidance on how to identify and manage the virus.

WHO issued a comprehensive package of technical guidance online with advice to all countries on how to detect, test and manage potential cases, based on what was known about the virus at the time. This guidance was shared with WHO's regional emergency directors to share with WHO representatives in countries. 

Based on previous experience, the known modes of transmission of respiratory viruses, infection and prevention control guidance was published to protect health workers.

10 January 2020 - UQ Milestone

UQ team has the first formal meeting with CEPI to discuss the novel coronavirus.

At that time, the virus was known as 2019-nCov, or Wuhan coronavirus. The team was told that this may be a disease of global concern and there was potential to develop a vaccine for this virus using the Molecular Clamp platform.

11 January 2020 - UQ Milestone

The UQ teams starts developing vaccine candidates, as the genomic sequence of the virus is published online for the first time.

Following the publishing of the genomic sequence, the UQ team immediately gets to work to apply the clamp technology to the new coronavirus spike protein. Within 24 hours, Associate Professor Chappell and Dr Watterson design 16 different construct variants to be tested as potential vaccine candidates for the novel coronavirus.

21 January 2020 - UQ Milestone

CEPI formally asks the UQ team to rapidly develop a vaccine.

CEPI challenges the UQ team to generate the material for a vaccine clinical trial in just 16 weeks.

The research team in charge of antigen design and analysis expanded from five to nine by reassigning personnel from other projects. The team now includes: Daniel Watterson, Keith Chappell, Danushka Wijesundara, Selorm Avumegah, Julia Lackenby, Naphak Modhiran, Stacey Cheung, Chris McMillan and Summa Bibby.

The UQ team worked long hours in the lab, every day for five weeks, to develop and test ~250 different vaccine constructs. This work proved the feasibility of using the Molecular Clamp platform to engineer a vaccine candidate that could trigger a protective immune response.

23 January 2020 - UQ Milestone

CEPI announces it will support UQ to rapidly develop a vaccine using the Molecular Clamp.

UQ senior management makes the rapid decision to support the task set by CEPI, signing an agreement to initiate vaccine development.

“There is a lot that is still unknown regarding how easily the virus is able to be transmitted between humans,” said UQ Vice-Chancellor Professor Peter Høj AC.

“Working with CEPI, The University of Queensland is using its vaccine technology to respond to this global health challenge.”

At this early stage of responding to the coronavirus, UQ is one of only three organisations globally supported by CEPI to produce a vaccine. The other two organisations are pharmaceutical companies, Inovio and Moderna.

In announcing support for these three vaccine programs, Dr.Richard Hatchett, CEO of CEPI, says: “the world needs to act quickly and in unity to tackle this disease.”

“There are no guarantees of success, but we hope this work could provide a significant and important step forward in developing a vaccine for this disease. Our aspiration with these technologies is to bring a new pathogen from gene sequence to clinical testing in 16 weeks – which is significantly shorter than where we are now.”

Read more here and here.

24 January 2020 - UQ Milestone

The Doherty Institute grows the virus in a Melbourne laboratory.

Scientists from the Doherty Institute in Melbourne grow the novel coronavirus in cell culture from a patient sample. This breakthrough provides national and international laboratories with crucial information that will allow them to accurately investigate and diagnose the virus.

Read more here.

24 January 2020 - UQ Milestone

Screening of the UQ team’s initial 16 construct variants does not reveal a lead construct.

The team moves onto designing a ‘second generation’ of 100 different vaccine constructs, which are then tested over the next three weeks (24 January – 14 February), as they seek to confirm their preferred vaccine candidate that will progress to a clinical trial.

25 January 2020 - Outbreak

The first Australian case of coronavirus confirmed.

The first case of novel coronavirus in Australia is confirmed in Victoria. The patient, a man from Wuhan, flew to Melbourne from Guandong on 19 January.

Read more here.

28 January 2020 - UQ Milestone

The first antibody that is specific for the novel coronavirus is identified in a preprint scientific publication.

In this pre-print publication, Tian et al identified for the first time that an antibody known as CR3022 could bind potently with the novel coronavirus. The paper concluded that this antibody has the potential to be used in prevention and treatment of 2019-nCoV infections. The UQ team immediately design constructs to regenerate this antibody to use as a tool in vaccine development.

Read more here.

30 January 2020 - WHO Advice

WHO declares a global health emergency.

WHO advised that the outbreak constituted a Public Health Emergency of International Concern (PHEIC). This is only the sixth time that WHO has declared a PHEIC since the International Health Regulations came into force in 2005.

As of 30 January, there were 7,818 total confirmed cases worldwide, with most of these in China, and 82 cases reported in 18 countries outside of China.

Read more here.

Animation of COVID-19 spreading across the world

Spread of COVID-19 across the world

Spread of COVID-19 across the world

How the virus spread in China. 21 January 309 cases, 26 January 2021 cases, 31 January 9802 cases, 5 February 24316 cases, 11 February 42694 cases.

31 December 2019 – The first reports emerge of a mysterious pneumonia in Wuhan, China.

31 December 2019 – The first reports emerge of a mysterious pneumonia in Wuhan, China.

COVID-19 research lab, women holding testing equipment and wearing glasses and lab coat
COVID-19 research lab, women holding testing equipment and wearing glasses, hair net and blue lab coat
COVID-19 research lab, women in lab coat checking machine settings.
COVID-19 research lab. Women working in lab coat, mask and glasses

3 February 2020 - UQ Milestone

GSK partner with CEPI and UQ to provide access to adjuvant technology for the vaccine program.

The pharmaceutical company GSK made adjuvant technology available to support rapid development of candidate vaccines, as part of a collaboration with CEPI aimed at helping the global effort to develop a vaccine for the 2019-nCoV virus.  

An adjuvant is added to some vaccines to enhance the immune response, thereby creating a stronger and longer lasting immunity against infections than the vaccine alone. The use of an adjuvant is of particular importance in a pandemic situation since it can reduce the amount of antigen required per dose, allowing more vaccine doses to be produced and made available to more people. 

Read more here.

8 February 2020 - UQ Milestone

UQ creates a bold plan to accelerate vaccine development and manufacturing.

COVID-19 research team. Dr Daniel Watterson, Mrs Christina Henderson, Professor Paul Young, Associate Professor Keith Chappell, Professor Trent Munro.

The UQ plan involves fast-tracking vaccine development and manufacturing through a “stacked model” of accelerated manufacture, approvals and enhanced partnerships. To progress the plan, UQ needs to raise $23.5 million.

11 February 2020 - WHO Advice

The virus is officially named “SARS-CoV-2” – and the disease it causes is named “COVID-19”.

The International Committee on Taxonomy of Viruses (ICTV) confirms the name of the new virus. It will be known as “severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2” – or SARS-CoV-2. This name was chosen because the virus is genetically related to the coronavirus responsible for the SARS outbreak of 2003.

On 11 February, WHO also announced “COVID-19” as the name of the disease that is caused by the virus.

This naming convention follows guidelines previously developed with the World Organisation for Animal Health and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the UN.

Read more here.

12 February 2020 - UQ Milestone

CSL partners with UQ on pre-clinical development of the vaccine.

CSL offers technical expertise as well as the donation of Seqirus’ proprietary adjuvant technology, MF59®, to the UQ pre-clinical development program.

Read more here.

12 February 2020 - UQ Milestone

a2 Milk donates $NZ500,000 to support vaccine development.

The a2 Milk Company made significant donations to both UQ and the Doherty Institute to assist in the development of a vaccine to stop the spread of COVID-19.

The donations of NZD$500,000 to each organisation were specifically made to support research teams who are leading the international effort to develop a vaccine for the virus.

Read more here.

14 February 2020 - UQ Milestone

The UQ team selects their lead vaccine construct.

The team confirm their lead construct to progress into the vaccine development phase, before entering formal pre-clinical testing.

Over the following two weeks (14-28 February), the team test ~150 permutations of the lead vaccine construct to confirm the best candidate.

Read more here.

20 February 2020 - UQ Milestone

Associate Professor Chappell and Professor Munro travel to Seattle, to brief the Gates Foundation.

Associate Professor Chappell and Professor Munro travel to Seattle, USA, to brief the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. The Foundation provides financial support to a range of global health causes, including being a major funder of CEPI.

24 February 2020 - UQ Milestone

The first pre-clinical immunogenicity study of the vaccine begins at UQ.

This study involves vaccinating mice and then taking blood from these vaccinated mice to see whether the blood contains antibodies that will effectively neutralise SARS-CoV-2 in a petri dish.

24 February 2020 - UQ Milestone

Initiation of stable cell line production for the lead candidate.

Stable cell production for the lead candidate is initiated to safely and reliably scale production of the vaccine candidate to the levels required for large-scale deployment.

28 February 2020 - UQ Milestone

Lead vaccine candidate locked in.

The optimal vaccine candidate is confirmed following testing of the ~150 permutations of the lead vaccine construct.

After testing ~250 constructs over a five-week period the UQ team had confirmed its vaccine candidate.

11 March 2020 - WHO Advice

WHO declares COVID-19 is a pandemic.

Concerned by the alarming levels of spread of the virus and its severity, WHO announced that COVID-19 can be characterized as a pandemic.

11 March 2020 - UQ Milestone

Queensland school children start a fundraising movement.

The UQ research team receives an email from a group of Year 5 Students at St Margaret’s Anglican Girls School in Brisbane pledging to raise $100 towards UQ’s COVID-19 vaccine program. In his response to the girls, Professor Young says the letter was a boost to spirits of the UQ researchers. Read more here.

22 March 2020 - UQ Milestone

UQ vaccine program receives $16.5m funding boost.

UQ receives a funding injection of $16.5 million to go towards reducing the timeline for an effective vaccine for COVID-19 by six months. The Queensland Government contributed $10m and the Australian Government pledged an initial $3m. The Paul Ramsay Foundation also announced a grant of $3.5m for the project, provided UQ secures the other $6.5m to reach the total fund-raising goal of $23m.

This additional funding provides critical support for the analysis of vaccine efficacy and clinical trials. It will also enable earlier manufacture of the vaccine (during human clinical trials) so that the vaccine is ready for use as soon as it is proven to be safe and effective. Read more here and here.

28 March 2020 - Outbreak

Spread of the virus peaks during the first wave of infections in Australia.

460 new cases of COVID-19 are confirmed in Australia – in one day on 28 March.

COVID-19 blood test
Professor Paul Young holding the COVID-19 vaccine candidate in lab wearing lab coat, glasses and gloves

Professor Paul Young

Professor Paul Young

4 April 2020 - Outbreak

The number of known COVID-19 cases in the world reaches 1 million.

Read more here.

Donald Trump press conference, more than 1 million cases of COVID-19 reported globally

Source: ABC NEWS

Source: ABC NEWS

8 April 2020 - UQ Milestone

The Doherty Institute confirms positive results for the first pre-clinical immunogenicity study of the vaccine candidate.

Blood samples from the vaccinated mice are sent to the Doherty Institute in Melbourne for analysis.

The results of the study clearly demonstrate that the candidate vaccine elicits an effective immune response that is able to prevent the SARS-CoV-2 virus from infecting cells within cell culture.

Professor Paul Young said the results were an excellent indication that the vaccine worked as expected.

“This is what we were hoping for, and it’s a great relief for the team,” Professor Young said. “We were particularly pleased that the strength of the antibody response was even better than those observed in samples from COVID-19 recovered patients.”

Read more here.

9 April 2020 - UQ Milestone

The UQ team announces a key partnership to enable pre-clinical animal challenge studies with Viroclinics Xplore.

The UQ vaccine candidate is shipped to Viroclinics Xplore’s facilities in the Netherlands, where it will be tested on animals in specialist biosecurity facilities.

In this animal protection study, the vaccine is administered in established animal models – and later those vaccinated animals are challenged with the SARS-CoV-2 virus.

Read more here.

11 April 2020 - Outbreak

The official global death toll from COVID-19 surpasses 100,000 people.

The first death came in the central Chinese city of Wuhan on January 9. It took 83 days for the first 50,000 deaths to be recorded and just eight more for the toll to climb to 100,000. Source: ABC News

death toll reached 100000. picture of doctors crying outside a hospital

29 April 2020 - UQ Milestone

BHP Foundation commits $2 million to the UQ vaccine program.

The $2 million contribution by the BHP Foundation helps UQ to close-in on its target of raising $23 million to fast-track the development of the vaccine.

Read more here.

Professor Paul Young

13 May 2020 - UQ Milestone

The UQ vaccine team has its first meeting with the Human Ethics Committee.

The human ethics assessment of the UQ vaccine is being conducted by Alfred Health in Melbourne. They must give approval before the vaccine can move into Phase 1 clinical trials in humans, which are scheduled to commence on 13 July.

21 May 2020 - Outbreak

The number of known COVID-19 cases in the world reaches 5 million.

Read more here.

Testing temperatures of people for COVID-19. 5 million cases of COVID-19 globally

Source: ABC NEWS

Source: ABC NEWS

COVID-19 image on ipad and phone
Vaccine animation of needle with red heart coming out of the needle

Phase 1 trials for UQ’s COVID-19 vaccine.

Phase 1 trials for UQ’s COVID-19 vaccine.

Professor Trent Munro and Hon Kate Jones standing outside the Australian Institute for Bioengineering and Nanotechnology

Professor Trent Munro and Hon Kate Jones

Professor Trent Munro and Hon Kate Jones

2 June 2020 - UQ Milestone

UQ is awarded a further $2m in support from the Australian Government through the highly-competitive Medical Research Future Fund.

5 June 2020 - UQ Milestone

UQ, CEPI and CSL enter into a landmark agreement to manufacture and develop the vaccine.

CEPI and UQ enter into an agreement with Australian-based global biotech leader CSL to support the clinical development and industrial-scale manufacturing of the vaccine to enable expedited further clinical testing to confirm efficacy before distribution.

Read more here.

Professor Trent Munro and Hon Kate Jones

18 June 2020 - UQ Milestone

The Queensland Government announces the recruitment of 120 Queensland residents to volunteer in Phase 1 trials for UQ’s COVID-19 vaccine.

Read more here.

Phase 1 trials for UQ’s COVID-19 vaccine.

29 June 2020 - Outbreak

Global cases pass 10 million, death toll reaches 500,000

Global coronavirus cases have now exceeded 10 million according to a Reuters tally, marking a grim milestone in the spread of the respiratory disease that has so far killed almost half a million people in seven months. Source: 9 News

Global cases reach 10 million, world map in black and red highlighting the USA as a hotspot

July 2020

Testing, approval and manufacturing of the UQ vaccine all ramp-up in preparation for human clinical trials.

July 2020 - Phase 1 human clinical trials to assess vaccine safety and efficacy.

There was a lot of concurrent activity planned for June as the UQ team progresses planning to undertake Phase 1 human clinical trials.

The team completed key GLP toxicology studies in collaboration with TetraQ, which is critical data to enable the start of the human clinical trial.

Results of the pre-clinical animal studies in the Netherlands will become available through July and August. These studies will hopefully provide initial evidence for efficacy of the vaccine in animals who are challenged with the virus.

The UQ team has also received human ethics committee approval to commence a Phase 1 human clinical study on 13 July.

“There is a lot of work to do over the next six months to show that the vaccine works, to scale it up, to get it into vials and to determine how it’s distributed so that it gets to where it is needed most,” says Professor Young.

UQ's vaccine research team - Professor Trent Munro, Professor Paul Young and Associate Professor Keith Chappell.

One hundred and twenty healthy adults have been selected to participate in the Phase 1 human clinical trials of the vaccine. These trials commenced in Brisbane on 13 July 2020.

After being vaccinated, the 120 participants in the trial group will be followed-up and monitored over 12 months with early data in the first 8 weeks informing the next phase of clinical trials. The researchers will be checking to ensure they are responding to the vaccination in a safe way and that the vaccine has triggered antibodies that will give protection from COVID-19. The researchers can monitor the immune response of participants by comparing it to the immune response of people who have previously had COVID-19 and recovered.

Vaccine vile with needle

July 2020 - Phase 1 human clinical trials to assess vaccine safety and efficacy.

July 2020 - Phase 1 human clinical trials to assess vaccine safety and efficacy.

UQ's vaccine research team standing in the hospital while the first dose is administered in the human trial

UQ's vaccine research team - Professor Trent Munro, Professor Paul Young and Associate Professor Keith Chappell.

UQ's vaccine research team - Professor Trent Munro, Professor Paul Young and Associate Professor Keith Chappell.

14 July 2020 - UQ Milestone

UQ reaches the fundraising target of $23.5 million to fast-track the COVID-19 vaccine.

Over 2,600 partners contributed to the philanthropic campaign, including substantial contributions by BHP Foundation ($2 million), Newcrest Mining ($1 million), The Lott ($1 million), Glencore ($725,000), Aurizon ($250,000) and RACQ ($100,000).

The Queensland Government allocated $10 million and the Australian Government has pledged a further $3 million to the project led by UQ’s School of Chemistry and Molecular Biosciences.

St Margaret’s Anglican Girls School clap to thank the donors and researchers.

Two St Margaret's students with the Principal clapping

St Margaret’s Anglican Girls School clap to thank the donors and researchers.

St Margaret’s Anglican Girls School clap to thank the donors and researchers.

Skyline in Melbourne city

August 2020 - Metropolitan Melbourne enters Stage 4 restrictions.

August 2020 - Metropolitan Melbourne enters Stage 4 restrictions.

3 August 2020 - Outbreak

Metropolitan Melbourne enters Stage 4 restrictions, including an overnight curfew, after a sustained period of growth in COVID-19 infections across the state.

Regional Victoria enter Stage 3 restrictions from 5 August.

Read more here.

8 August 2020 - Outbreak

Queensland to close borders to all residents of New South Wales and ACT.

Queenslanders who return after travelling there will be sent to mandatory hotel quarantine for 14 days at their own expense.

Read more here.

Future Milestones

COVID-19 virus with molecule vaccine clamp attached

Future Milestones

Late 2020 – Early 2021

If the vaccine is successful it will be distributed for broader use including those at highest risk from COVID-19.


For more UQ COVID-19 vaccine research information click the link below